Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bryan Magee helps me into Philosophy...

Last year I attended a Taster of Philosophy at CityLit which I found intriguing, one of the potential next steps from this was Ways into Philosophy : Great Thinkers which I enrolled for before Christmas and which started today.

Unlike the other CityLit courses I have taken part in this one has what is tantamount to a Set Book, Bryan Magee's The Great Philosophers where it scores ahead of many similar books is that the TV show which preceded to book is available to watch on-line (check them out on YouTube) and provide another level of  illumination to the discussions around the selected figures.
As the course leader Scott Biagi pointed out it is difficult  to imagine such a TV Programme being made today.

I've already visited the talk between Magee and Burnyeat on Plato and it helped for me to read and view but this Philosophy thing is not a simple 5 minute endeavour.

It was illuminating to see who was attending, about 15 people I estimate with slightly more males than females and a slight tendency (I think) to the 50-ish, I suppose the sort of people who Lord Bragg tries to address.

I will take a look today at the Aristotle investigation with the sole woman protagonist of the series Martha Nussbaum this afternoon nad hopefully read the relevant transcript too.
So the first session was an Introduction to the course and included a 'quiz' to link famous Philosophers to  their Schtick .
To help me feel that I've learnt something I've listed, chronologically the Person  with the catchphrase we spoke about and a  link which can lead to some further investigation:

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) - I think therefore I am (famous in Latin as Cogito ergo sum).

John Locke (1632-1704) The mind is a blank slate (a key experiential statement).

G.W.Leibniz (1646-1716) All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds this phrase is  used in the play  Candide by Voltaire.

Bishop (George) Berkeley (1685-1753) To be is to be perceived. - sometimes formulated as  'If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?'

David Hume (1711-1776) I am nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions in perpetual fluxand movement - rather paradoxical this is pretty much his definition of the human mind but to make the statement perhaps needs the mind?

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Thoughts without content are empty; intuitions without concepts are blind.

G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) Truth is in the whole.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to
change it.
Fred '|god is Dead' Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) God is dead - pretty much a stand out quote from the philosophers philosopher,

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) The limits of my language are the limits of my world.

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) We have forgotten the meaning of the question of Being.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) Hell is other people. ( It's not about having a bad time at a party - explained somewhat here).

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